2002 Gujarat riots: Maya Kodnani acquitted in Naroda Patiya case
The Gujarat high court on Friday acquitted former BJP minister Maya Kodnani and upheld the conviction of Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi in the 2002 Naroda Patiya riots case, in which 97 people were killed.
“Eleven witnesses gave different statements on Maya Kodnani’s presence at the location, there were contradictions,” said special public prosecutor Prashant Desai.
The killings in the Ahmedabad locality was one of the worst attacks of the 2002 post-Godhra riots.
On February 28 that year, 97 people from the Muslim community — mostly migrants from Karnataka and Maharashtra — were slaughtered by a mob of Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal supporters. The locality with nearly 800 houses was set on fire.
In August 2012, a special court for SIT cases had sentenced 32 people, including Kodnani, to life imprisonment. Kodnani, the Naroda MLA at the time, was handed a 28-year jail term.
The trial court had held that she was the mastermind of the violence in Naroda area.
Another high-profile accused, former Bajrang Dal leader Babu Bajrangi, was given life imprisonment till death.
Seven accused were given enhanced life imprisonment of 21 years, which they will serve after undergoing 10 years’ imprisonment under IPC section 326 (causing grievous hurt).
The remaining accused were given simple life imprisonment (14 years).
The trial court also acquitted 29 other accused for want of evidence.